The Dirt on Soap

The Dirt on Soap

Soap. We all use it. We use it to bathe, to clean the house, to clean counter tops, and to clean the car as well as pets. Smart shoppers are again buying soap made without the harsh chemicals used in commercially produced products from local craft stores such as Savon Bath Treats. What is soap? The simple answer or definition is “a substance used with water for washing and cleaning, made of a compound of natural oils or fats with sodium hydroxide or another strong alkali, and typically having perfume and coloring added.”

Let’s start with a bit of history. The earliest evidence of soap production are references that to about 2800 BC in Babylon. A clay tablet dating to around 2200 BC discovered in an archaeological excavation contains a formula for the making of soap using cassia oil and alkali.

The ancient Egyptians were obsessed with regular baths, with the use of scented oils and with soaps. The famous Ebers papyrus that has been dated to about 1500 centuries BC notes the use of animal fats, various salts, and oils to make soaps. Other recipes from ancient Egypt note the use ashes as well as cypress and sesame oils. As a footnote scented soaps were also used to prepare wool and cotton for weaving. During the same period, in Israel, a variety of wood ash or potash made from burnt wood and vegetable, lard, and olive oil, were used in commercial soap production.

Contrary to popular perception, many early civilizations were quite hygienic. The Latin word for soap, sapo, is believed to be derived from a Germanic word to describe a cleaning product made with tallow and ash. This is referenced in the writings of Pliny the Elder about his journeys in Gaul and Germania. In the later stages of the Roman Republic fortunes were made by traders who could supply Rome and its colonies with Germanic soaps that were perceived to be the best available.

Ancient China took a different route to cleanliness preferring scented oils and creams. A traditional detergent that has been used for centuries is made from a mixture of pig pancreas and plant ash called “Zhu yi zi”. Interestingly, soaps made of animal fat was relatively unknown until the 19th century.  

Another interesting chapter in the history of soap occurred in England with implementation of a soap tax in February 1665. All soap manufacturing, even for personal use at home, was closely supervised by royal revenue officials. Commercial manufacturers were required to keep equipment locked unless an official supervisor was present. Then further regulation was implemented that made it impossible for anyone other than large commercial manufacturers to produce soaps. The law stipulated that soap boilers must manufacture a minimum quantity of one imperial ton at each boiling. The tax remained in place until 1853.

And that is thumbnail history of soap, a product that we all use daily. A product that is given little thought. That is the dirt on soap.

Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America

Bombs Away

Bombs Away

Officially introduced in 1989, the bath bomb, at least in comparison to soap, is a relatively new phenomena. Credit for their invention is given to Mo Constatine, co-founder of Lush Cosmetics. Intrigued by the fizzy properties of Alka Seltzer tablets, Constatine experimented with various formulas before developing a product named ‘Aqua Sizzlers.’ Craft soap shops such as Savon Bath Treats with their own special blends have fueled their popularity, and used their bubbly and aromatic qualities to market a personalized bath experience.

So, how do they work?

There are two key ingredients in most bath bombs, sodium bicarbonate that reacts with citric acid when dropped into water to release carbon dioxide gas. This results in the bath bomb dissolving and releasing the added ingredients; fragrances, oils, salts, and colors. In a nut shell, they are a pleasing way of slowly releasing bath salts or oils. So, to avoid skin irritations or allergic reactions it is important to know what ingredients are being added, which is another reason to shop at local stores where you can enjoy a more personalized experience. And that takes to a discussion abut oils and salts, both of which can be beneficial and even provide health benefits.

Time to relax

If you suffer from dry and sensitive skin, rose oil is an important ingredient. supports all skin types, so even those with dry, sensitive skin will benefit from its restorative effects. As an essential oil there are studies that indicate it can also provide a calming affect. Cedarwood, rosewood, and sandalwood have similar properties as do most oils derived from tree bark. A bit more exotic is Neroli oil that is extracted from orange blossom flowers. Essential oil studies have shown that it also provides a calming affect. And for the wintertime bath, there is also the added bonus of having a scent that inspires thoughts of summer. Another uncommon oil is vetiver that is distilled from the roots of the vetiver plant. Popular in India, this oil is used to address dry skin and is known as the “oil of tranquility.”

Lavender is, perhaps, the most popular oil used by craft soap makers. Used for centuries, lavender oil not only repairs dry and damaged skin, it has been shown to alleviate insomnia making it ideal for a nighttime bath. Chamomile is often blended with lavender since it has historically been used as a tea or oil for its calming and relaxing affect, ideal for a late evening bath. As a bit of an historic footnote, in years past chamomile oil was added to the leaves in a large tea bag that was submerged in a hot bath. And when you talk to your local soap store owner, ask about the use of ylang ylang or jasmine oils. These oils have been shown to be mood stimulants, and in some cultures they are revered for the aphrodisiac properties.

Treat yourself, unwind with a warm bath, and add a bath bomb.

Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America



Savon Bath Treats on Beale Street, one block north of Andy Devine Avenue, Roue 66, in Kingman, Arizona is more than a manifestation of the entrepreneurial spirit that is transforming the city’s historic business district. It is a tangible link to American history, a throwback to the nations founding.

In colonial America the making of soap was an arduous and labor intensive chore that exemplified the pioneering spirit of early settlers and an ability to be innovative. In the colonies there were two primary ingredients in soap. The first was lye made from wood ash, and fat or grease, both were byproducts of both butchering and cooking. Then as now, soap making was a household staple and a commodity. It was a tradition rooted in antiquity.

The first historic record of soap making dates to around 2800 BC in ancient Babylonia. In this instance soap was used to wash and prepare animal fibers for weaving. Credit for the making of soap to be used in personal hygiene and even the prevention of disease is given to to the Romans. In the second century A.D. Roman physicians began writing about the medical benefits of soaps infused with various aromatic oils. These soaps were also recommended for household cleaning.

The Romans with their expansive colonization throughout Europe and England made numerous contributions, including the making of soap. When Dutch and English colonists arrived in North America, the art of European soap making came with them. There was another reason that American colonist either made their own soap, or traded at the local soap store. This enabled them to avoid the taxes on imported goods. And in time the colonists were actually exporting soap as well as key ingredients such as potash. This would become a point of contention shortly before the American revolution as the colonies were exporting potash and soap in such quantities England banned the colonies from selling to any other countries.

The manufacturing of potash became a major industry in the colonies. It was produced from wood ash that was sold to the factories by vendors, who collected it from farmers and settlers. Some ambitious entrepreneurs made the sale of wood ash a business, and a few became quite wealthy. And as cities grew, a lucrative domestic soap making industry was born. Professional soap makers often added salt to the manufacturing process and produced hard soap in sheets that were sold by the pound. The increasing prosperity of colonial cities made store-bought soaps quite popular. Soaring sales enabled manufacturers to invest in production methods that resulted in soaps with consistent quality, and a lower price. As with the Romans, soap companies began adding scents as well as essential oils such as lavender, violet, hemp and sandalwood.

Not surprisingly, except for the western frontiers, by the mid nineteenth century, the task of soap making had disappeared from many American homes. Savon Bath Treats hearkens to an earlier time. It is a tangible link to colonial America.

Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America

Changing Times

Changing Times

The renaissance that is transforming the historic business distric in Kingman, Arizona is the dawning of a new chapter in this community that has been immortalized in a little ditty about getting your kicks on Route 66. The owners of Savon Bath Treats, Dript Candle Kitchen and other businesses along Beale Street exude an infectious sense of enthusiasm and passion for the future of this desert crossroads.

In the years bracketing statehood in 1912, the historic heart of Kingman was infused with a similar spirit as passionate business owners with vision turned their eyes toward the future. Then as now, it was an era of dramatic societal transformation as a new generation of entrepreneurs embraced the latest technologies. Automobiles shared the road with stagecoaches, blacksmith shops doubled as garages and auto dealerships, and speculators poured into the territory from east and west on the railroad. Reading articles from the Mohave Miner, now the Kingman Daily Miner, and other area newspapers from the years 1905 to 1920 presents a colorful picture of a dynamic progressive community that was firmly rooted in its western frontier heritage.

Recently Andy Sansom, archivist at the Mohave Museum of History & Arts, initiated a search to chronicle the history of early automobile dealerships in Kingman. His endeavors have uncovered fascinating tidbits that hint of how quickly the city embraced the new mode of transportation, and the birth of the areas tourism industry. As early as 1907, business owners were evaluating the merits of automobile ownership.

Mohave Miner, 1909

Then as now, the perception that Kingman was a modern, progressive community with unlimited opportunity for the ambitious, fueled growth. Tom Devine, father of character actor Andy Devine, namesake for Andy Devine Avenue, Route 66, purchased the Hotel Beale in 1906. By 1909 he was a leading member of the fledgling Arizona Good Roads Association that was tirelessly lobbying and promoting the need for improved roads in Arizona. Three years later he was leading a contingent of association members from Kingman, Oatman, and Needles, California to petition the National Old Trails Road convention for a rerouting across northern Arizona. In 1926, this “highway” would become Route 66.

N.R. Dunton was down on his luck when he arrived in Goldroad around 1920, and began working in a garage and service station in that mining camp. In 1926 he built Cool Springs station along Route 66 on the east slope of the Black Mountains. By the late 1930s he had purchase the garage in Goldroad and expanded the services offered. Still, he was a man of vision and so he set his sights on Kingman, and in 1946 acquired Taylor-Owen Ford. Today that dealership is Dunton Motors Dream Machines.

After decades of neglect and abandonment, the historic heart of Kingman is being transformed by the same passionate entrepreneurial spirit that fueled the communities growth from lowly railroad construction camp on the Arizona frontier to progressive, modern community in 1910. Once again, with events and festivals, restaurants, wine bars, small shops and microbreweries, a new generation is transforming the original business district into the vibrant hub of a modern, progressive community with an eye on the future.

Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America

Feel The Excitement

Feel The Excitement

An historic district in the midst of revival is an exciting thing to behold. Long empty store fronts refurbished, young entrepreneurs possessed of vision and passion, the glow of neon, and a vibrant nightlife lend themselves to a palpable sense of excitement.

Strolling the streets of downtown, Kingman Arizona it is difficult to fully grasp the dramatic transformation of this district within a few short years. There is still much work to do as evidenced by the decrepit Hotel Beale, the empty storefronts along Andy Devine Avenue (Route 66) and the long shuttered Brunswick Hotel. Still, on Beale Street one block north of Route 66, facades are being renovated, the historic State Theater is being given a new lease on life, new businesses are opening, and neon is glowing bright.

Chillin on Beale in Kingman, Arizona Photo Jim Hinckley’s America

The renaissance started between Fourth and Fifth Street with the transformation of a former bank into Beale Street Brews coffee shop, the opening of Savon Bath Treats and Black Bridge Brewery, and the addition of neon signage from Legacy Signs. Now it is spreading west toward the stunning skylines of buttes and mesas the dominate the skyline, and spilling over on to the side streets.

Events held most every weekend attract visitors from the tri-state region and legions of international travelers making the western pilgrimage on Route 66. Guide books, knowledgeable tour guides, and journalists that extol the districts virtues fuel interest and as a result Kingman’ historic business district is becoming a destination in itself. The Kingman Center for The Arts is making an array of contributions; renovation of the old State Theater, murals and public art, live theater performances, and art gallery showings. The Route 66 Association of Kingman is partnering with business owners for facade renovation projects and refurbishment of historic places such as the American Legion that began life as two buildings the were relocated from the Kingman Army Airfield; the base theater and the officers club.

A few years ago this was just another blighted district, an eyesore that the city couldn’t ignore of fix. Overgrown trash strewn lots where motels, garages, service stations and stores once stood and empty storefronts were the dominate features. Growth and development along Stockton Hill Road, Airway Avenue and Hualapai Mountain Road enabled residents to forget the city’s historic heart. Travelers on historic Route 66 made a pit stop at the Visitor Center in the historic Powerhouse and scurried from town.

That was then. Today there are few storefronts for rent. At every turn historic buildings are being given a new coat of paint, new windows, and a new lease on life. Even more exiting is the fact that the renaissance is now bleeding into the surrounding historic residential districts where homes are being renovated, yards cleaned and landscaped, and new construction is filling empty lots. In Kingman, Arizona the historic heart is forgotten no more.

Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America

Young Entrepreneurs

Young Entrepreneurs

In communities large and small young entrepreneurs are transforming once moribund historic districts into thriving, vibrant centers of commerce. They are breathing new life into the historic hearts of small town America, and they are doing it with passion, vision, and enthusiasm.

An excellent case study is Kingman, Arizona, a dusty crossroads town that is bisected by iconic Route 66. The town has a rich and colorful history that includes a surprisingly lengthy celebrity association. Just one manifestation of this is Andy Devine Avenue, Route 66, an honorarium for the Kingman’s favorite son, a character actor that starred in hundreds of motion pictures.

As with many communities along Route 66, the historic business district in Kingman entered a period of precipitous decline when the interstate highway opened and traffic was funneled around town instead of through. As an example of just how important Route 66 was to communities such as Kingman, consider that a study indicated that in 1939 more than one million vehicles had entered Arizona on Route 66 that year.

In the late 1950s, Kingman was a town of less than 10,000 people. And yet it’s main street, Route 66, was lined with service stations that never closed, restaurants, dozens of motels, garages, and automotive dealerships. In less than a year of the bypass, everything had changed.

Fast forward to the second decade of the 21st century. After more than three decades of decline, young entrepreneurs such as Jessica Deihl and Steve LeSueur began transforming empty store fronts into prosperous businesses, and in the process began building a renewed sense of community.

Savon Bath Treats was the first step. Located on the corner of Fifth and Beale Streets, this charming little store with its whimsical mural that has become a favored photo op stop for travelers, the Garlic Clove, and Beale Street Brews Coffee Shop became the anchor for the east end of a renaissance that is sweeping through the old business district. Recently the ambitious duo added a new store, Dript Candle Kitchen in a forlorn business block built in the 1920s. This is in addition to the Savon Bath Treats and Dript Candle Kitchen stores that was opened in nearby Lake Havasu City.

For ambitious young entrepreneurs such as Steve and Jessica, a measure of success for a business is how it and the owners contribute to the health of the community. LeSueur, owner of MyMarketing Designs, is also the developer of Promote Kingman, a promotional initiative that includes an extensive community calendar of events. On May 22, at 5:30 P.M., Dript Candle Kitchen will be hosting the Route 66 Association of Kingman’s May “meet & greet”, an event that encourages people to meet business owners, and to network with community leaders.

Historic downtown Kingman is in the midst of a dramatic renaissance. The foundation is the young entrepreneurs that have the vision to see a prosperous business in a long closed storefront, have the energy and passion to give an old building a face lift, and that are possessed with a hunger to see a community renewed.

Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America.

X Benefits of Bath Bombs (& Why They Make Perfect Gifts!)

X Benefits of Bath Bombs (& Why They Make Perfect Gifts!)

We love baths – there’s nothing better at the end of a long day than kicking back in a hot tub that is fragrant and colorful thanks to a bath bomb. Whether you like to listen to soothing music, read, or simply close your eyes and relax, a bath really isn’t complete without a bath bomb. But what makes bath bombs (ours, specifically) so great? Here are 5 benefits of bath bombs, and why they make great gifts for a loved one, or yourself!   

  • Bath Bombs are Great for Your Skin

Our bath bombs contain a ton of natural oils that are great for your skin, no matter your skin type. These oils leave your skin feeling soft, smooth, clean and moisturized. These oils even have healing properties and will help repair broken skin.

  • Natural and Vegan

All our products rely on all-natural ingredients to avoid harsh chemicals that can irritate and damage your skin. Best of all, our products are completely vegan – they are never tested on animals, so they are ideal for anyone in your life and your vegan friends will appreciate the extra thought you put into their gift.

  • They Help Create a Ritual

No, this isn’t about spells; this is about creating a mood for your personal relaxation time. You may notice, for example, that when you light a certain scented candle every evening or put soothing music on before you fall asleep each night, that after a few days the smell or the sound starts to trigger a feeling of relaxation for you. Bath bombs can do this for you too.

  • They Smell Amazing

All our bath bombs are scented and will fill the room with an incredible fragrance, so all you need to do is choose one you love. (Here’s a few suggestions: Love Spell [link:], Beautiful & Badass [link:], and Blue Raspberry Slushy [link:]!)

  • They Give You (or Your Loved One) an Excuse to Relax

How many times a week do you give yourself permission to take a break and relax? When you sit down in the evening, do you feel like you should be doing something else? A bath bomb, whether you buy it or are gifted it, gives you an excuse to spend at least half an hour alone relaxing in the tub. For busy parents and professionals, this can be just the excuse they deserve!

Our bath bombs are all handmade right here in Kingman, Arizona, so you can be sure every bomb has been formulated and made with love and care. If you’re local, come and visit us in store! If not, we can ship your bath bombs to you (and it’s free over $50)!

Passing The Baton

Passing The Baton

The renaissance that is transforming the original business district in Kingman, Arizona is quite exciting, especially when viewed in an historical context. Forlorn old buildings that date to the early 20th century are being painted, renovated and given a new lease on life as young entrepreneurs such as Steve LeSueur and Jessica Deihl develop dynamic and vibrant new businesses. For long term residents who have watched the ebb and flow of the area the transformation is a refreshing change.

Photo courtesy Mohave Museum of History & Arts

For more than eighty years Kingman’s business district that centered on the railroad, then the National Old Trails Road and Route 66 evolved and grew. It mirrored changing times, just as it does today.

With the railroad as the focal point of life in Kingman about 120 years ago, it should come as no surprise to learn that the depot at what is now Fourth Street and Andy Devine Avenue, and the Beale Hotel, Brunswick Hotel and Commercial Hotel were the social and business hub. Signage on store fronts advertised barbed wire, ranch supplies, mining supplies, wagon repair, and blacksmith services.

Photo courtesy Mohave Museum of History & Arts

Fast forward to 1915. The National Old Trails Road funnels an ever growing flow of travelers through town. Counted among the tourists was then 21-year old Edsel Ford.

Now the business district has spread south and north along Fourth Street, along South Front Street (now Topeka Street), Front Street and Beale Street. The hotels are doing a thriving business but there is also a free campground on South Front Street for travelers following the National Old Trails Road, blacksmith shops also offer auto repair, and store front signage advertises tires and harnesses, auto parts and mining supplies, guns and camping equipment.

The next sixty years were a time of dramatic transition. The railroad for passenger travel waned, the National Old Trails Road was replaced by Route 66, and the historic heart of the city boomed. The business district spread east and west along the highway corridor. Like the railroad they were built to serve, the old hotels began to fade as they were replaced by motels such as White Rock Court, Stony Wold, Arcadia Lodge and the El Trovatore Motel. Automobile dealerships for Packard and Studebaker, Edsel and Chevrolet, Nash and Ford replaced the blacksmith shops and livery stables. Shops and restaurants were kept busy as more than one million travelers flowed through town on Route 66 in just one year.

In the blink of an eye everything changed. Route 66 was bypassed by I-40, traffic flowed around instead of through town, and one by the stores closed, the motels closed, the hotels closed, the garages closed and the service station closed. A business district that had survived the Great Depression, the post WWI recession that closed a record number of banks, the change from railroad centered to automotive centered transportation and even calamitous fires was devastated, abandoned, and forgotten.

Today, fueled in part by the Route 66 renaissance, the historic district is rising from the ashes of abandonment like the mythical Phoenix. Stores like Savon Bath Treats are thriving. It is the dawn of a new era in Kingman, Arizona, and at the forefront of the change are daring young entrepreneurs.

Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America

The Future

The Future

In towns large and small there is a movement afoot that is transforming once moribund or faded business districts into thriving, vibrant hubs of commerce. The driving force behind this movement are passionate young entrepreneurs, visionaries that see building a business as a means to make a living, and as a way to transform a community.

Kingman, Arizona makes for an interesting case study, a glimpse of the future if you will. The historic business district has two main drags, Andy Devine Avenue, Route 66, and Beale Street. The renaissance that is sweeping through the district is only beginning to bleed over to the Andy Devine corridor that is still dominated by empty storefronts and old hotels that stand in mute testimony to better times. Beale Street is another story.

On this street, between First and Sixth Street, the transformation has been rather dramatic. Five years ago Beale Street was also lined with empty storefronts, thrift stores, and weed strewn vacant lots. Today empty storefronts are rare. Young entrepreneurs such as Jessica Deihl, owner of Savon Bath Treats, are staking their future on the districts renaissance and are leading the transformation.

Savon Bath Treats dominates the corner of Fifth and Beale Streets with its colorful facade adorned with a whimsical mural. A bench out front under the shade trees, and the delightful smells that emanate from the soap store and the coffee shop across the street, encourage people to simply savor the moment rather than rush life. Add an event such as Chillin on Beale that is held on the third Saturday evening of each month, March through October, and the corner becomes a microcosm of what the district is, and what it can become.

The west end of the district is also a place where the past, present, and future blend seamlessly. The Powerhouse Visitor Center that was built in 1907 houses an acclaimed Route 66 museum as well as the world’s only museum dedicated to the evolution of electric vehicles. Across the street a shaded park is dominated by a monstrous steam powered locomotive that was built in the 1920’s, a monument to the city’s railroad heritage. On the corner of First Street and Andy Devine Avenue is Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner, a colorful caricature of the classic diner that hides the authentic little restaurant that opened in 1939 as the Kimo Cafe. To the east is Dunton Motors, a one family owned dealership that dates to 1946 whose specialty today is classic cars.

In between the links to the past at the west end of the historic business district, and to the future at Savon Bath Treats there are an array of eclectic shops, wine bars, microbreweries, are galleries, a diverse array of restaurants, an historic theater undergoing restoration. and even a few Airbnb offerings. The diminutive historic business district in Kingman is a glimpse into the future, a future where young entrepreneurs such as Jessica Deihl are leading a movement that will be transforming communities large and small.

Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America

Changing Times

Changing Times

Located just one block north of Route 66 (Andy Devine Avenue) on the corner of Fifth and Beale Street is a quaint little shop, Savon Bath Treats, adorned with colorful and whimsical murals. It hearkens back to an earlier era but it is also a glimpse of the future.

There was a time not so long ago when the corner apothecary and soap shop was as much a part of the urban landscape as the candle maker and general store. The dawning of commercial soap manufacturing in the first decades of the 20th century doomed the local soap maker. Now, however, we have come full circle and the neighborhood soap shop is again a fixture in revitalized historic business districts.

There is a reawakening, a revival of traditional crafts and small business ownership that stands in stark contrast to the corporation dominated business culture of the past 80 years. Leading that renaissance are a new generation of entrepreneurs, people like Jessica Deihl, proprietor of Savon Bath Treats.

Linked with the success of stores like Savon Bath Treats, now with locations in Kingman as well as Lake Havasu City, is a growing understanding about the importance of eliminating exposure to chemicals and commercial detergents, primary components in commercial soaps. As an example, for decades simple pine tar soaps were recognized as an important part of maintaining good health. These soaps were even issued by the Army Corps of Engineers as a preventive measure against mosquito bites. It was also prescribed by physicians for the treatment of skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

Bath bombs are a relatively new addition to the offerings at soap shops. To a degree their growing popularity is a reflection of a society in transition. A bath is no longer a process for cleaning after a day in the mines or bucking hay on the farm. Baths today are an opportunity to create a relaxing experience, and bath bombs can add a spa like experience to the tub.

As a bonus, depending on composition, a bath bomb can have health benefits. They can add emollients and softeners to your bath’s water that moisturize the skin. The fizzing of the bath bombs creates a relaxing atmosphere and a sense of indulgence. A key ingredient in most bath bombs is sodium bicarbonate and citric acid. Both of these ingredients clean skin pores, deodorize, and even strengthen blood vessels in the skin. Then there are the aroma therapy benefits.

Your one stop shop for bath bombs, natural soaps and shaving creams, and related products in Kingman is Savon Bath Treats. This charming little shop is also a cornerstone in the Kingman historic business district revival. A store where the past meets the future. Stop by today and see what you’ve been missing, and transform your bath into a healthful spa. And while you are in the neighborhood, may I suggest you try a fresh ground, fresh brewed cup of coffee, an award winning brew at one of the districts microbreweries, or some first rate barbecue.

Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America